Located in the Yangtze River in the north of Fuling District, Baiheliang is a stone bridge with a length of 1,600 meters and an average width of 15 meters. Baiheliang inscriptions were thought to be firstly engraved before the first year of the Guangde Era in the Tang Dynasty (763 A.D.). Meanwhile, it is known as the world’s first ancient hydrologic station. The name of Baiheliang literally means White Crane Ridge in English. Stone Fish Hydrological Marker is the only gauge across the world that uses fish’s eye to record hydrological information of low-water seasons. In addition, people living in Fuling considered that stonefish swims out of the water an omen to a bumper harvest. Such hydrological information is very important to guide agricultural production, water transportation economy, and shipping safety along the Yangtze River.
There are 165 inscriptions, 18 carved stone fishes, two carved figures of Guan Yin (Avalokitesvara), and one white crane. Baiheliang inscriptions encompass calligraphic relics of all schools spanning from the Tang, Song, Ming, through Qing Dynasties, to modern times. The most famous inscription is the “Yuan Fu Geng Chen Fu Weng Lai, which literally means Fuweng comes to the ridge at the Gengchen Year of Yuanfu Era during the reign of Emperor Zhezong of Song Dynasty, by Huang Tingjian (Fuweng). It boasts extremely significant scientific, historical and art values. Baiheliang was listed as one of the national key cultural relics reserves set up in 1988 and included into the Tentative List of the World Heritage Site in China in 2006, 2012 and 2017.
When building the Three Gorges Dam Project, China chose the non-pressure container after the consideration of several proposals, to preserve the original site, appearance, and environment of Baiheliang inscriptions. As a result, it took 7 years (from 2003 to 2009) to build the Baiheliang Underwater Museum, which was praised by the UNESCO as “a fabulous first-world-wide example of the presentation of underwater cultural heritage in a site reachable by the non-diving visitor.